Burkina Faso became the first to book a quarterfinal spot after seeing off Gabon in a penalty shootout, while Nigeria is the latest favourite to be dumped out of the competition after a narrow defeat to Tunisia in the second half.
Pulse Recap: Nigeria’s Super Eagles out, Burkina Faso, Tunisia through
It was an exciting start to the knockout stages at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon after the first two matches produced three goals and two red cards.
Wasteful Burkina Faso survive 10-man Gabon scare after penalty shootout win
A wasteful Burkina Faso can thank their stars after they defeated 10-man Gabon 7-6 via penalty shootout in the opening game of the round of 16.
The Stallions dominated the game and could have scored as many as four goals in regular time but were guilty of wastefulness against their Gabonese counterparts, the Panthers, who had defender, Sidney Obissa, sent off for two yellow cards offences.
Burkina Faso's captain, Bertrand Traore missed a penalty in the 18th minute before making amends ten minutes later when he latched onto a beautiful through pass from the youngster, Dango Ouattara to slot home the opener.
The Stallions opened up the Panthers so many times in the game and could have put daylight between them but for their disappointing profligacy.
Gabon was reduced to ten men in the 67th minute when Obissa received his second yellow card following an off the ball cynical challenge from the defender.
However, despite creating even more glaring chances thereafter, Burkina Faso couldn't make take advantage of their numerical superiority and allowed Gabon back into the game via an Adama Guira own goal in stoppage time.
The game will be decided through a penalty shootout after both sides couldn't be separated after extra time.
Burkina Faso eventually progressed to the quarterfinal after a 7-6 win in the shootout to send Gabon home.
Youssef Msakni's long-range effort stuns 10-man Nigeria
Youssef Msakni has become a hero in Tunisia after his beautiful second-half goal ensured the Carthage Eagles will continue their AFCON 2021 journey in Cameroon.
Msakni inspired Tunisia to a shock narrow 1-0 win over Nigeria in the second match of the day on the first day of the knockout stages in the AFCON2021.
After a goalless opening half of the match with both teams hardly creating any tangible chances, Tunisia found the breakthrough two minutes into the restart as Msakni dispossessed Ola Aina inside their defensive third.
He evade his marker, Wilfred Ndidi, with ease before letting out an excellent shot from 30 yards which Super Eagles goalkeeper, Maduka Okoye, made a mess of as he parried into his net to give Tunisia the lead against the run of play.
Nigeria tried to find a way back but things got worse as they were reduced to ten men when substitute, Alex Iwobi, received his marching order six minutes after he replaced Kelechi Iheanacho for dangerous play in the 65th minute.
Another substitute, Sadiq Umar, had Nigeria's best chance of the game late on but watched in agony as it went narrowly wide.
Nigeria's Super Eagles went into the game as favourites after an impressive start to the competition saw them win three of their first three matches.
On the other hand, the Carthage Eagles barely made it into the round of 16 after two defeats and a win in their opening three games.
However, despite being without 12 of their players and manager in the last 16 clash against Nigeria due to a COVID-19 outbreak, the Northern Africans produced a spirited performance to send Nigeria packing from the tournament.